WAKE UP – Romans 13:11-14

 

Paul is giving his readers a challenge to wake up because the end of the dispensation of grace or the church is near. The hour is at hand. The day in which all believers have longed for and anticipated is upon us. We know that this truth is much more a reality in our day than it was in Paul’s day. The signs of the times are coming at a very rapid pace. The ‘birth pains’ of the last days are in its final hour. In this passage, Paul gives his readers three basic commands in light of the soon return of Jesus Christ.

Wake up. Notice what the scripture says in verse 11. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” [1] For too long we have been lazy. We have grown complacent and content with the status quo. We go through the motions, yet there is no power and there is no life. We have grown cold and indifferent. We do not love Jesus like we used to. We have become lazy in our personal walk with God. We have become lazy in our mission. We have become lazy in helping those in need. We have become lazy in sharing the good news of the Gospel. We have become lazy in our giving. We have become lazy in our church attendance. We have become lazy in our accountability toward one another and in dealing with sin. Church, it is time for us to wake up! We do not have the luxury of time. The day is at hand. If we are ever going to go all out for Jesus, now is the time. If we are ever going to tap into the full power of God that is within us, now is the time. Stop messing around. Stop doing just what you must do to get by. Wake up! Fall in love with Jesus. Get serious about the things of God.

Clean up. In light of the soon return of Jesus, we need to clean up. We need to get our house in order. We need to get right with God. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.”[2]In these last days, it is time for us to deal with our sin problem and get right with God. It is time that we take God’s Word seriously and turn from our wicked ways. “The Christian wears the armor of light, not the deeds of darkness. He has no reason to get involved in the sinful pleasures of the world.”[3]

Sometimes we complain about the lack of excitement and growth in the church. We wonder why God does not bless us. We wonder why we do not see God move in miraculous and powerful ways. The problem is because there is sin in the camp. We have a sin problem that we are not willing to deal with. We sweep our sins under the rug; we just ignore them and pretend as if everything is okay. My friend, everything is not okay when divorce is running rampant in the church. Everything is not okay when church members are involved in adulterous relationships. Everything is not okay when we constantly complain and arguing with one another. Everything is not okay when the only time we come to church is when there is something going on that interests us or there is something that we are responsible for doing. Everything is not okay when the only time we come to church on Sunday evening is when there is a fellowship event or business meeting. Everything is not okay when only a small handful of people love Jesus enough to make the sacrifice and effort to come to pray meeting because they understand the importance of God’s people praying together. Everything is not okay when those who are suppose to be leaders in the church are not faithful to the entire work and ministry of the church. We cannot just sit here and think that everything is okay. We think that just because we don’t steal, murder, and do drugs, then we are okay. We think that because we don’t participate in the evil of the world, then we are okay. Brothers and Sisters, the greatest sin that is destroying the church today is simply spiritual laziness. We are so caught up in the busyness of life that we do not have time for the things of God. Where is the passion? Where is the fire? Where is the love for God and for His church? What happened to the days when you loved Jesus so much that you could not wait to get to church every time the church doors were opened? What happened to the day when you could not put God’s Word down? What happened to the day when you could not stop talking about Jesus? What happened to the day when you could not get enough of Jesus? It is time that we see the error of our ways. It is time that we cast off the sin and the darkness. It is time for us to get serious about the things of God again!

Grow up. The final command that Paul gives his readers is found in verse 14. “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”[4] To ‘put on the Lord Jesus Christ’ is to be more like Him. “We grow on the basis of the food we eat. This is why God warns us not to make provisions for the flesh. If we feed the flesh, we will fail; but if we feed the inner man the nourishing things of the Spirit, we will succeed.”[5] There has been a few times when some will complain about the deepness of my preaching. They will say that they want something more simple; something that will help them right now. They want to just skim the surface; they want just enough to make them feel good or better about themselves. Think about this for a moment. When you say such things, you basically admitting that you are lazy. You are not willing to do the hard work of digging into scripture to search out the deep things of God. You have no desire to learn the great doctrines of the faith because you are not willing to take the time to really study God’s Word. My friend, it is time for you to grow up. You cannot be fed milk all your life. There comes a time, when you must be willing to do what it takes to really grow in your knowledge of God’s Word. When all you do is skim the surface, you are making provision for the flesh. When all you desire to hear is what satisfies you, then you are giving in to your own comfort and laziness. Think about it. If there is something that is difficult to understand, then that should encourage you and excite you to search it out and do the work to come to a better understanding. When we are not willing to do what it takes to grow up, then we never will grow up, and we will find ourselves giving in to our flesh more and more. By growing up and putting on Christ, we protect ourselves from giving in to our sinful desires. “To clothe ourselves with Christ is to take off and dispose of the old clothing of sin. While the appetites of sin remain until the glorious day of our complete transformation into the likeness of Christ (1 John 3:2; Phil 3:21), we are to deny them any opportunity of expression. We are not even to consider the possibility of allowing them to fulfill their evil intentions through us.”[6] Are you doing what it takes to rid yourself from the desires of the flesh? Are you growing in Christ, so that you are more pleasing to Him?

Church, the time is at hand. Jesus is coming soon. It is time to stop messing around. It is time that we do what it takes to rid ourselves of the sin. It is time for us to wake up, clean up, and grow up.

 

[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ro 13:11). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ro 13:12–13). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[3] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 558). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[4] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ro 13:14). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 558). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[6] Mounce, R. H. (1995). Romans (Vol. 27, p. 249). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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